Junta-backed draft constitution ‘to be ratified in April’

The junta’s Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has confirmed that the new constitution will be ratified in April, when the CDC will also submit two organic bills — on political parties and the election commission — to the junta-appointed parliament. 
 
On 28 March 2017, Udom Ratammarit, a CDC representative, said that the draft constitution has already been submitted to the King for final endorsement. If everything goes to plan, it will be ratified in April. 
 
Udom stated that the CDC will then immediately submit the organic laws on Thailand’s election commission and political parties to the National Legislative Assembly, the junta’s appointed legislature.  
 
Udom made these announcements in a seminar on ‘The Constitutional Court under the New Constitution’ at Thammasat University’s Law Faculty. The seminar raised the question ‘Is the Constitutional Court too powerful under the draft charter?’
 
Under Article 5 of the draft constitution, the President of the Constitutional Court can exercise discretion in cases where no provisions under the Constitution are applicable. Decisions in such cases will be made in a joint meeting with other high ranking legislative and judicial officials, such as the Prime Minister, the President of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the President of the Supreme Court and the President of the Supreme Administrative Court. 
 
The joint decision would be deemed final and binding on all state organisations. Article 212 gives the court further authority to suspend judgements by other bodies that could be considered as falling under Article 5. Article 213 also allows people to petition the Constitutional Court when their constitutional rights or liberties are violated.
 
Udom argued the Constitutional Court’s power will however be limited by the organic laws.  
 
 
Udom Ratammarit (Photo from Matichon)